Marbury (Witton Bridge) 16.10.18

Overcast at first, bright (and warm) later

A group of some eighteen or so members of the Team (including a Blue Peter badge holder on the 60th Anniversary of that popular BBC Children’s TV programme!) gathered in the Witton Bridge car park and almost immediately began seeking out views of a Song Thrush and a  couple of Redwing that were splashing about in a puddle just a few yards away – a first sighting of the season of the latter for many of us. A few titmice were visiting one of the nearby feeders and a Greater Spotted Woodpecker (the first of several sighted during the course of the morning) overflew our group.

After all this excitement, the first stop on our circumnavigation of Neumann’s Flash proved rather disappointing. What had been on past visits a waterlogged expanse was now covered in bright green grass, and where usually a few ducks and the occasional wader had been sighted there was nothing to be seen at all, save for a Buzzard spotted on a distant pylon, a few geese, probably Canada, flying overhead and another Woodpecker resting on a the top of a dead tree. Our next stop, however, provided much more of interest, although the relatively low water level of the flash itself was evidenced by a couple of Heron standing way out from the shore, in what had previously been much deeper water. Besides these two graceful fishers, there was plenty of activity along the shore with Moorhen racing about, some Teal gliding lazily along and, in the distance, a large number of Lapwing at rest half in and half out of the water. Amongst the later were a small number of Black-headed Gulls, a couple of lesser Black-backed Gull and a solitary Redshank, busily probing in the soft mud for food. In the other direction, we were afforded a lesson in the comparative size of water birds with Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler all in close proximity.

A walk along the track on the eastern side of the flash, in summer full of bird song, was quiet and largely uneventful, although there were plenty of Goldfinch and House Sparrows in evidence, and even a couple of Greenfinch, all taking advantage of the plentiful supply of food in the small trees and undergrowth. Reaching the hide at the northern end of the Flash, we had good views again of the Lapwing and Gulls that had been seen earlier from the south, but on this occasion, taking our time to survey the gulls slowly, the presence of a single Common Gull was confirmed, clearly different in dimension and colouration from the more numerous Black-headed gulls by which it was surrounded.

With time passing, the skies clearing and the temperature (at least out of the shade) rising, it was decided, after some discussion, to press on finally to Haydn’s Pool, despite the disappointments of recent visits. On arrival, the signs were not good, rather than a pool, a better description would have been ‘puddle’ – almost all the water had drained away. However, a bit of determined scanning of the tree line and distant industrial buildings revealed, first, a good view of a Buzzard sunning itself, no doubt after a good meal, and second, a reasonable view of a Peregrine perched high on a handrail of the distant salt works.

With these delights our visit concluded, and we all made our way back to the car park – carefully avoiding a wooly bear seen crossing the path in front of us. Before we finally left, however, a good few minutes were spent once again watching the Redwing that were still enjoying themselves in the puddles in the field adjacent to the car park, accompanied now, not only by a couple of Blackbirds, but also by Dunnock, the first sighted all morning.

Bird List (BP)

  1. Little Grebe
  2. Heron
  3. Mute Swan
  4. Canada Goose
  5. Wigeon
  6. Teal
  7. Shoveler
  8. Sparrowhawk
  9. Buzzard
  10. Kestrel
  11. Peregrine Falcon
  12. Moorhen
  13. Lapwing
  14. Redshank
  15. Black-headed Gull
  16. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  17. Common Gull
  18. Woodpigeon
  19. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  20. Robin
  21. Blackbird
  22. Redwing
  23. Great Tit
  24. Blue Tit
  25. Jay
  26. Magpie
  27. Carrion Crow
  28. House Sparrow
  29. Greenfinch
  30. Goldfinch

Photos JH

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